Living a Cruelty-Free Life

February is almost over and I’m continuing to embrace change and transformation. Some of the goals I set out for myself at the beginning of January and February were not met, but they were replaced with greater and more permanent forming habits. January was more about shifting my mindset and gaining focus and starting the routines I want to keep with me. February has been about setting goals and making a plan on how to achieve them. These new practices are really all derived from one main idea: I want to take care of my body, mind, and soul.

One way I’ve decided to do this is to shift into a cruelty-free lifestyle. It’s been something I’ve contemplated for a while, but I was motivated by my friend Lindsey over at Listy Lemon and her post about making the cruelty-free switch in cosmetics and skin care. It makes the journey for me easier when I know there are other people in my life with the same ideas.

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What this means for me personally is that I no longer wish to purchase products that are tested on animals. In my opinion, my dollar is a vote. When at all possible, I want to use the money I earn to support businesses that share my beliefs. There may be times where I am not able to follow this, but I’d like to do what I can. When it comes to cosmetics and cleaning products, I’ve discovered how many options there are that don’t involve harming animals. With a quick Google search I found so many blogs that are rich in information on cruelty-free brands. Cruelty-Free Kitty is one of my favorites to visit for an easy answer. PETA’s website also has a super easy resource for discovering if a brand is cruelty-free or not.

Shopping cruelty-free can be different for everyone. There are some companies that do not test on animals but are owned by a parent company that does. An example of this would be Urban Decay, which is owned by L’Oreal. There are some people who choose to buy from fully cruelty-free brands, and some who use their voice and money to support the cruelty-free company and not the parent company. I’m more aligned with the latter group; it’s a less-limiting way to shop, and I’m still showing the parent company which products I would rather purchase.

I have a lot of makeup products that still have plenty of use left. The money is already spent, therefore I see wasting it as worse than the purchase I made when I wasn’t shopping mindfully. However, any new cosmetics, skin care, and even cleaning supplies I buy from now on will be smarter purchases. With resources like the two I listed above, it’s incredibly easy to find products that don’t harm innocent animals.

Another way I’ve chosen to live more mindfully is changing my diet to a vegetarian one. For years I’ve watched all the documentaries on Netflix, Food Inc., Hungry for Change, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and more. I’ve known how bad our food industry is and especially when it comes to meat. I’ve seen the videos of chickens being mistreated, and I know about the added hormones and preservatives. For so long I’ve turned a blind eye to not only the treatment of animals before they become my dinner, but also the way eating meat makes me feel physically.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Chick-Fil-A, Big Macs, and bacon. Never say never, so maybe I’ll eat meat again someday, but I do know that from a health standpoint I feel much better when I don’t eat a lot of it, even when it’s something I’ve prepared at home. As of recently, every time I eat meat (especially red meat) I feel sick and sluggish. As far as my diet goes, at this time I don’t have any plans on going completely vegan. Honestly, it’s about my own comfort socially and financially. I think I would like to eventually make the transition to veganism someday, but that isn’t in my plan currently.

As a strong animal lover, I’ve always struggled with knowing where my meal came from. So far the decision has been an easy one. I still think fondly of meat-lead meals I’ve enjoyed in the past, but I don’t crave them. It makes me much happier to know I’m making a small impact on the world. Not only am I not supporting the treatment of these animals, I’m not supporting the incredible destruction of our planet by animal agriculture. 

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There are enough things I do every day that aren’t good for the environment; I drive a car, I don’t recycle (that’s not entirely my fault when my apartment complex doesn’t have recycling bins), I use aerosol hairspray, etc. Despite this,  I have switched from using pads and tampons to a reusable menstrual cup, I recycle whenever I can at work, and cutting out meat is another way of being kind to the planet.

With my new spiritual views, I no longer feel right morally harming another creature for my own gain. Having opposable thumbs doesn’t make me superior to my dog or the cows that are sent off to make steaks. As I live a more positive life, I can’t do that when I’m knowingly supporting the food products or cosmetics that are so negatively created.

Part of me wants to assure you that I won’t be the stereotypical vocal vegetarian: you know, the one all the jokes are about. The other part of me remembers that I’ve never been subtle about anything, so why should my diet be any different? I remain, as I have become, a straight-edge, democratic, hippie, vegetarian feminist.

If You Had the Chance to Change Your Fate (The Five Year Plan)


I posted this photo on my instagram with the caption explaining that I’m trying to formulate The Plan. The dreaded/welcomed Five Year Plan is one of those things people always ask about in one way or another; where do you see yourself in five years

The truth is, I don’t know. I thought by the time I was 23 I would have more things figured out and taken care of. There was a mental timeline I thought I’d be further along than I am. I never wrote down any of those things, but I want to start now. 

Sometime in the upcoming days/weeks/months I want to set up a Vision Board of sorts. On it, I want my Plan to be posted up to be a daily reminder of the goals I have set for myself. My list of priorities and inspiration need to be somewhere I can always go to when I’m discouraged or off track. 

Life is so uncertain and I know that all too well. However, there are many things I can take charge of and control. I’m using my time to decide what I want out of my life and figure out how to make those things happen within my ideal timeline. I need to be open to flexibility as fate takes me down her own path, but I’m the best guide I have for now. 

Pursuing Photography 

More than anything I am a writer (good or bad), but I wanted to share this photo. It’s a simple iPhone 6 picture taken from the backseat of a Kilimanjaro Safari’s truck with an instagram filter on it. But I love it. 

It’s pictures like this that remind me to get out with my DSLR camera and pursue photography as a hobby. I want my photos to accompany my writing, as well as stand alone. 

I may never be an artist or a musician; hell, I may never become any kind of writer or photographer. Even if nothing ever comes of these hobbies, they make me feel good. These hobbies allow me to express myself and see things differently. They help me learn and notice the finer details. 

This weekend I’m going out with my friend, Caitlin, with this in mind. We’re going out with our cameras and we’re going to capture the world around us.  I’ve been wanting to do this for so long and I can’t wait to share the photos I take. 

February Goals

I’m very happy to announce that in January I completed 8/10 of my planned goals. Not only did I successfully do the 10 I set out to, I also made great progress in creating lasting habits for my health and well-being. It isn’t important which goals I did or did not meet, what matters most is that I was able to achieve more than I thought I would for the month. 

With that being said, I decided on my February goals. I have less on my list this month, and some are the same or slightly different, while some are new. Although I’m doing a lot of focusing on the short-term goals, I haven’t forgotten about the long term; many of my goals I set intentionally to get into the habit of doing it, so I can eventually turn around and utilize them for a longterm plan. An example would be more exercise: someday I want to comfortably complete a full marathon. I can’t do that without consistent running and training (and diet!!) every day. Another would be my writing: four blog posts a month at minimum gives me the practice and experience to someday get paid for writing.  “I want to learn everything I can, and write down everything I see. Golly says if I want to be a writer, I’d better start now…”

  • Publish 4 blog posts
  • Read 4 books
  • Work out 4 days a week
  • Put (and keep) money in savings
  • Continue to clean and de-clutter
  • No soda

I feel good. These may seem like more “to-do” list items, but they mean more than that to me. These goals mean working to become a better person, both physically and mentally. I want to learn, I want to feel stable, I want to feel strong. I’m so ready to be the best I can be. This month I also want to sit down and seriously begin to plan out my long-term life goals, and I’ll be sure to write about it when I know more myself. 

Grateful and Healing

Today I’m grateful that, even though I’m working two weeks straight with no time for rest, I’m able to sit and read at work. And that the team brought in donuts

 The last week has been off for me; I ran around working and entertaining an out of town friend and totally forgot about myself. I didn’t make my own mental and physical health a priority, so I ate junk park food and forgot about my meditation. Waking up for work was a challenge because I didn’t have my positive solace first thing in the morning. 

Yesterday on my break I found a 15-minute meditation podcast to get me through the rest of my afternoon and it did wonders. This morning I woke up and grounded myself before I even turned on my lights or went to the bathroom. 

Mediation has become a necessity for me in the mornings. It sets my day off right and gives me a clearer view on what I want to accomplish for myself. 

This last week I totally fell off the wagon. But I planned out my workouts for next week, and am re-committing to my health in all aspects. (Yes I know I just said I was grateful for the donut. Let me treat myself.) I brought fruit, carrots, and hummus for my lunch to fuel my body, and I jump started my day with meditation to fuel my mind. Although I don’t get to have a day off this weekend, I’m looking at the overtime as a blessing and am happy to have it. 

I’m grateful for a library card and the fact that I live three stoplights away from my library. Reading brings me so much comfort and I’m happy to be able to escape into the pages. 

And of course I’m grateful for the donuts. Not even because they’re sweet and tasty. More than that, I’m thankful for the gesture of bringing them in on a long day of overtime. 

The sunrise this morning was beautiful. The weather walking into work was incredible. It’s much too pretty outside to be cooped up indoors, but I’m grateful to be able to take it all in briefly first thing today.